Anti Dumping Duty Battle-Delhi High Court Asks DGTR To Take Feedback Till July 19

In the now familiar tussle between domestic solar manufacturers and solar power developers, the Delhi High Court has set a new date. July 19. That is the new date for feedback on the anti dumping investigation launched by the Directorate  General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), for imposing anti dumping duty on panel imports from China, Thailand and Vietnam. The earlier date for feedback was June 26.

The timing of this investigation was considered very relevant, considering the end of the safeguard duty (SGD)of 14.50% that is scheduled to end by the end on July 29. Many industry leaders have opined privately that this latest investigation is one way to justify a penal duty on imports, till the new customs duties come into force on April, 2022.

These developers have also opined that there might be a case for  a zero duty breather between July and April next year,  to allow developers to order for projects that have been delayed due to covid, and other projects that are facing a price shock due to the unexpected spike in import costs in any case. We have reported earlier on how even confirmed orders have been cancelled, besides the 15-22 percent hike in costs of imports in the past 4 months. At best, they hope that following norms, the government will extend the safeguard duty at a lower rate, as mandated by the exim rules.

The Delhi High Court was responding to a petition from the Solar Power Developers Association (SPDA), according to a member developer we spoke to.

The DGTR had launched its investigation on May 5 this year, based on the petition filed by the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA). ISMA had filed the petition on behalf of Mundra Solar PV (Adani) – a unit in a Special Economic Zone; Jupiter Solar Power, a unit in the Domestic Tariff Area (DTA); and Jupiter International Limited (DTA).

The SPDA in its petition requesting a stay on the investigation, has contended that  “Promotion of inefficiencies of one industry should not be allowed to adversely affect the other user industry” They have also complained about the lack of modern technology options available domestically.

As dates come and go, the key date to watch is July 29, when SGD is supposed to end. With an extension looking unlikely, a DGTR pronouncement, if allowed to proceed uneventfully from here, could still take until August end or later to come now.  Keep in mind that ramp of domestic solar manufacturing will not begin to show results until  2023 possibly.  We have already seen multiple government schemes that mandate use of domestic equipment slow down, due to ‘shortages’. In that context, and keeping in mind the increase in import costs seen recently, it really will take some exceptional  work for the DGTR to make a strong case for dumping in India. Unless of course, it is the low technology, low cost equipment that the SPDA claims it no longer wants to use.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International

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